Prafulla Mathur, the CEO and founder of Wudstay, believes entrepreneurship is all about conviction. A true entrepreneur should have the ears to pick things from others criticism and use it to his or her advantage.
“When one plans to start a business, 99% of the people around you will say it’s not going to work. You cannot pay heed to them. But you should listen to them to get something that makes your idea even better and move on.”
In a chat with My Big Plunge, Mathur explains the two levels of challenges a startup experiences in its journey- one is at the initial level and the other is at the operational level.
He explains, “First are the generic hindrances like raising funds and hiring a good team early stage. There are also challenges like AC and laptop not working, inverter creating problems and you don’t have anywhere else to go. After you overcome this at the ground level, which is an evolution, you will face the operational challenges.”
“For example, in our case, we started in Kota, where the housing facilities are largely disorganised. There are middlemen, who stand at railway stations and they fight tooth and nail with you if you try to streamline the process. Our team faced that. We had to overcome that first,” Mathur added.
One of the biggest psychological block in us Indians is that we are not at all sure of going to an unknown place and staying because we have a sense of insecurity, says Mathur.
“I know there is a big home-stay provider, who are trying to get in the Indian market for 5-7 years now, but hasn’t yet succeeded. Indians don’t rely on going to unknown places because there’s no guarantee. It is the guarantee that we aim to provide, and we have been successful in a lot of ways.”
According to a new survey revealed on Wudstay, it was reflected that Indians fear a lack of internet connectivity over anything while travelling.
The survey showed that nearly 34.5 % feared the lack of mobile network while travelling while 6.9 % are afraid of high roaming bills. 16.4 % use the internet to stay connected with family and friends, whereas 17.2 % spend their data using GPS while travelling. 32.8 % use the internet for social media posts while 28.4 % use it to find information about places they are visiting.
About 13.8 % are willing to go without food for an entire day for a lag-free internet connection. While 33.6 % reported that they are ready to sacrifice drinking for an evening for a good internet connection, another 28.4 % won’t use a restroom for six hours for it.
“Technology drives the experience of the modern traveller. This survey has helped us identify what is essential for our customers,” added Prafulla Mathur, Founder and CEO, WudStay.
WudStay has raised $3 million from Netherland-based VC, Mangrove Capital Partners and Nimbuzz CEO, Vikas Saxena. Before this, WudStay raised a Seed Round from Similie Ventures, a Luxembourg-based institutional investor.
Founded in April 2015 by Prafulla Mathur, WudStay is a lifespan accommodation company that allows users find standardised short and long term stay options across categories including hotels, homestays, hostels, and retirement homes. Its properties are available at leisure destinations such as Kashmir, Manali, and Goa and business destinations such as Bangalore, Mumbai, and Gurgaon.
“We started with 15 hotels onboard in 2 cities in January Jan 2015, when we desperately required funding for setting up processes. Since then, we have seen a steady growth in the number of guests who rely on WudStay. In May 2016, we recorded 1, 00, 000 bookings. With a currently tally of over 1000 properties across categories, we are looking at expanding our network to 1000 hotels, 1000 hostels, and 5000 homestays by the end of 2016,” said Mathur.
Users can now choose from 650+ hotels across 60 cities, 2000+ homestays in 20 cities, and 350 hostels/PGs across 5 cities.